Optimistic Canada ready for more
Samuel Piette (pictured) played every minute of Canada’s four games in the 2016 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: AFP Services)

GLENDALE, Arizona -- As encouraged as he was by Canada's performances in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, head coach Octavio Zambrano realizes there is much to do before his team can be counted among the region’s powers.

Les Rouges advanced past the group stage for the first time since 2009, before falling to Jamaica in the quarterfinals, 2-1, Thursday night.

For Canada to improve, Zambrano believes that it must be challenged.

"We're going to try to play the best teams in the world that we can possibly play," he said, rattling off some of the top teams in the Western Hemisphere -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico.

"Going forward, our team will take a different approach," continued Zambrano.  "We'll try as much as we can because a lot of these teams do have FIFA window in a qualifying process."

Since being named coach in March, Zambrano has seen considerable improvement in the team, which finished as Group A runner-up (1W-2D-0L) behind Costa Rica.

"These guys are very coachable and resilient players," the 59-year-old Ecuadorian explained.  "They have in short period of time have understood a lot of things that sometimes takes much longer to understand, the idea of trying to play good football and attacking football.  They now have that chip in their heads.  We just need to feed that."

The fact that the squad has faith in Zambrano, his process and themselves is key.

"We can achieve anything," concluded midfielder Samuel Piette.  "We proved it against good teams -- Honduras, Costa Rica.  We went there to get some results, which we did.  We can play against anybody.  I have no doubts with this squad."